Exploring Cliveden's Glorious Gardens
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An easy Sunday afternoon walk around Cliveden’s glorious gardens and woodlands overlooking the River Thames. Follow in the footsteps of dukes, earls, and royalty as we pass though a series of impressive gardens including the celebrated Parterre (one of the largest in Europe) with amazing views from the Terrace across the Thames Valley. The Japanese-style Water Garden was inspired by the huge interest in oriental design at the turn of the 20th century and includes a six-sided pagoda. The Italian-style Long Garden has some quirky statues and topiary with some beautiful floral displays. The circular Rose Garden includes over 900 flowering roses in various colours, and there is also a Round Garden, Walled Garden, and the historic Cliveden Maze with 1,100 six-foot-tall yew trees covering an area of one-third of an acre.
The gardens and woodlands cover 375 acres and are listed Grade I on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. Other sights include the outstanding sculpture collection (in particular the beautiful shell fountain, known as the Fountain of Love), the Octagon Temple perched on the cliff edge and built in 1735, the Blenheim Pavilion designed in 1727 to commemorate the Battle of Blenheim, and an amphitheatre where the first recital of ‘Rule Britannia’ was played.
Cliveden has become one of the National Trust’s most popular visitor attractions, and the house on the Estate has been home to a Prince of Wales, two Dukes, an Earl and finally the Viscounts Astor. For over 350 years it has been a place of history, mystery, intrigue, and scandal. In the 1960s a chance meeting between Christine Keeler and cabinet minister John Profumo led to what was subsequently called the Profumo Affair, which in turn led to the fall of the Macmillan government. Today the house is a five-star hotel and is where Meghan Markle and her mother Doria stayed the night before the Royal Wedding.
At the end of the walk we shall have refreshments at the Conservatory Café which serves a selection of drinks and snacks. You can also visit the gift shop and plant centre.
Entrance to the estate is free if you are a member of the National Trust. Otherwise, the standard adult admission is £16.00. More information is at Cliveden | National Trust
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All images were taken by the leader.
What to bring
Hand sanitiser and a face covering: whilst we are living with Covid-19, please bring your own to events to help keep everyone safe
Water: bring at least a litre
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Rucksack: or any other bag
Footwear: hiking boots, sturdy trainers or wellies
Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt) and a mid layer (a micro fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (a windproof jacket or thick fleece)
Trousers: ideally not jeans which become heavy and cold in the rain, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry and on warm days shorts are OK
Waterproof jacket: breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry
Hat or cap: stay warm in winter and shaded in summer
Sunglasses: for any sunny day, even in winter
Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy and winter days
Snacks: bring biscuits, energy bars, gels, bananas, chocolate or dried fruit for example and put them somewhere easy to get hold of
Lunch: bring a packed lunch unless otherwise stated
Food & drink
Bring a bottle of water. At the end of the walk we shall have refreshments at the Conservatory Café which serves a selection of drinks and snacks.